art

Into the blue again, after the money’s gone

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Around 1930, the director of an evening newspaper had hired Georges Simenon as an advertising attraction. He’d had a cage constructed in the hall of his newspaper where Simenon, under eyes of the public, was to write a serial, non-stop. But on the eve of the big day, the newspaper went bankrupt. Simenon wrote the book in his room.

{ Paris Match | Continue reading }

In 1927 the publisher of Paris-Soir proposed to place Simenon in a glass cage, where he would spend three days and three nights writing a novel in public.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { Mark Heithoff }

Fed profits from Treasury bonds on its balance sheet, then sends proceeds to Treasury. Any questions?

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{ John Isaacs, Ah! Donald Judd, My Favourite!, 1991 }

‘The animal needing something knows how much it needs, the man does not.’ –Democritus

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On 27 July 1890, aged 37, Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest with a revolver (although no gun was ever found). There were no witnesses and the location where he shot himself is unclear.

Biographer David Sweetman writes that the bullet was deflected by a rib bone and passed through his chest without doing apparent damage to internal organs—probably stopped by his spine. He was able to walk back to the Auberge Ravoux, where he was attended by two physicians. However, without a surgeon present the bullet could not be removed. After tending to him as best they could, the two physicians left him alone in his room, smoking his pipe.

The following morning (Monday), Theo rushed to be with his brother as soon as he was notified, and found him in surprisingly good shape, but within hours Vincent began to fail due to an untreated infection caused by the wound. Van Gogh died in the evening, 29 hours after he supposedly shot himself. According to Theo, his brother’s last words were: “The sadness will last forever.”

Van Gogh’s 2011 biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith argue that van Gogh did not commit suicide but was shot accidentally by a boy he knew who had “a malfunctioning gun.”

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

In 1953, Nicolas de Staël’s depression led him to seek isolation in the south of France. He suffered from exhaustion, insomnia and depression. In the wake of a disappointing meeting with a disparaging art critic on March 16, 1955 he committed suicide. He leapt to his death from his eleventh story studio terrace, in Antibes. He was 41 years old.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

In the spring of 1968, Rothko was diagnosed with a mild aortic aneurysm. Ignoring doctor’s orders, Rothko continued to drink and smoke heavily, avoided exercise, and maintained an unhealthy diet.[…] Meanwhile, Rothko’s marriage had become increasingly troubled, and his poor health and impotence resulting from the aneurysm compounded his feeling of estrangement in the relationship. Rothko and his wife Mell separated on New Year’s Day 1969, and he moved into his studio.

On February 25, 1970, Oliver Steindecker, Rothko’s assistant, found the artist in his kitchen, lying dead on the floor in front of the sink, covered in blood. He had sliced his arms with a razor found lying at his side. The autopsy revealed that he had also overdosed on anti-depressants. He was sixty-six years old.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

art { Nicolas de Stael, Still Life with Hammer, 1954 | Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black on Grey), 1970 }

related { the way we glamorise the suicides of famous artists inhibits our understanding of mental illness }

Master Gee! My mellow! It’s on to you, so whatcha gonna do?

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{ Velasquez, Rokeby Venus, c. 1647–51 }

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{ On March 10, 1914, the suffragette Mary Richardson walked into the National Gallery and attacked Velázquez’s canvas with a meat cleaver }

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{ Copenhagen’s The Little Mermaid sculpture, vandalized in 1964 | More examples of art vandalism }

Until then, BTFATH

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I remember how artists in the ’80s made the emphatic point that under no circumstances would they be represented in art fairs.

(Laughter around the table)

They thought that it was in poor taste. That is how it was in the beginning. And has been quite astonishing to see how things have turned around—in 30 years.

{ Stefan Stux/Artnet | Continue reading }

bitch i’ve always been an artist

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Imagine receiving a text message that one of the world’s most prominent artists had appropriated your work, divorcing it of its original meaning. That’s exactly what happened to Audrey Wollen, a Los Angeles-based artist whose recreation of Diego Velázquez’s ‘The Rokeby Venus’ as a self-portrait was recently used by Richard Prince as part of his New Portraits series. […]

I was really angry, but not at all surprised. An old, white, successful, straight male artist feeling entitled to the image of a young female body is not surprising. My photograph wasn’t included in his show at Gagosian, but by distributing it through the internet under his name without any consent, he completely erased my authorship and identity. I really was just a photograph of a naked girl, up for grabs. Maybe I’m idealistic, but I don’t think art should simply reiterate the status quo. […] I think a lot of people mistake Prince’s work as purely an issue of appropriation - like, if you condemn Prince, you condemn appropriation on principle. That’s not the point: Appropriation is chill, as long as the person doing the appropriating is not the person in power. What Prince is doing is colonising and profiting off a territory of the internet that was created by a community of young girls, who, needless to say, do not have the cultural space Prince has. Selecting specific bodies from a sea of images, amputating them from their context, and then naming yourself the owner of those bodies: that isn’t just boring art, that verges on predatory and violent behavior.

{ Audrey Wollen | Continue reading }

You’ve changed. That sparkle in your eyes has gone.

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Merely changing the face of a model in an ad increases the number of potential purchasers by as much as 15% (8% on average), according to a study being published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

{ Informs | Continue reading }

art { Martial Raysse, Life is so complex, 1966 | more }

related { Real-time makeup using projection mapping }

‘He who never bluffs never wins; he who always bluffs always loses.’ —Daniel Dennett

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{ Oscar Murillo has recreated a candy-making factory inside a New York gallery }

related { In 1963, Spoerri enacted a sort of performance art called Restaurant de la Galerie J in Paris, for which he cooked on several evenings }

‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.’ —Richard Feynman

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Damage to certain parts of the brain can lead to a bizarre syndrome called hemispatial neglect, in which one loses awareness of one side of their body and the space around it. In extreme cases, a patient with hemispatial neglect might eat food from only one side of their plate, dress on only one side of their body, or shave or apply make-up to half of their face, apparently because they cannot pay attention to anything on that the other side.

Research published last week now suggests that something like this happens to all of us when we drift off to sleep each night.

{ Neurophilosophy/Guardian | Continue reading }

art { Andy Warhol, Mrs. McCarthy and Mrs. Brown (Tunafish Disaster), (1963) }

Le paradigme de l’art contemporain

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In his groundbreaking research, Geoffrey Miller (1999) suggests that artistic and creative displays are male-predominant behaviors and can be considered to be the result of an evolutionary advantage. The outcomes of several surveys conducted on jazz and rock musicians, contemporary painters, English writers (Miller, 1999), and scientists (Kanazawa, 2000) seem to be consistent with the Millerian hypothesis, showing a predominance of men carrying out these activities, with an output peak corresponding to the most fertile male period and a progressive decline in late maturity.

One way to evaluate the sex-related hypothesis of artistic and cultural displays, considered as sexual indicators of male fitness, is to focus on sexually dimorphic traits. One of them, within our species, is the 2nd to 4th digit length (2D:4D), which is a marker for prenatal testosterone levels.

This study combines the Millerian theories on sexual dimorphism in cultural displays with the digit ratio, using it as an indicator of androgen exposure in utero. If androgenic levels are positively correlated with artistic exhibition, both female and male artists should show low 2D:4D ratios. In this experiment we tested the association between 2D:4D and artistic ability by comparing the digit ratios of 50 artists (25 men and 25 women) to the digit ratios of 50 non-artists (25 men and 25 women).

Both male and female artists had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios (indicating high testosterone) than male and female controls. These results support the hypothesis that art may represent a sexually selected, typically masculine behavior that advertises the carrier’s good genes within a courtship context.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | PDF }

previously { Contrary to decades of archaeological dogma, many of the first artists were women }

The first use of the name Jessica is found in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

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{ Zhang Huan, 49 Days, 2011 | more }

‘Quand j’ai connu la Vérité, j’ai cru que c’était une amie.’ —Musset

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Cutting, a professor at Cornell University, wondered if a psychological mechanism known as the “mere-exposure effect” played a role in deciding which paintings rise to the top of the cultural league.

In a seminal 1968 experiment, people were shown a series of abstract shapes in rapid succession. Some shapes were repeated, but because they came and went so fast, the subjects didn’t notice. When asked which of these random shapes they found most pleasing, they chose ones that, unbeknown to them, had come around more than once. Even unconscious familiarity bred affection.

Back at Cornell, Cutting designed an experiment to test his hunch. Over a lecture course he regularly showed undergraduates works of impressionism for two seconds at a time. Some of the paintings were canonical, included in art-history books. Others were lesser known but of comparable quality. These were exposed four times as often. Afterwards, the students preferred them to the canonical works, while a control group of students liked the canonical ones best. Cutting’s students had grown to like those paintings more simply because they had seen them more.

Cutting believes his experiment offers a clue as to how canons are formed. He points out that the most reproduced works of impressionism today tend to have been bought by five or six wealthy and influential collectors in the late 19th century. The preferences of these men bestowed prestige on certain works, which made the works more likely to be hung in galleries and printed in anthologies. The kudos cascaded down the years, gaining momentum from mere exposure as it did so. The more people were exposed to, say, “Bal du Moulin de la Galette”, the more they liked it, and the more they liked it, the more it appeared in books, on posters and in big exhibitions. Meanwhile, academics and critics created sophisticated justifications for its pre-eminence. […]

The process described by Cutting evokes a principle that the sociologist Duncan Watts calls “cumulative advantage”: once a thing becomes popular, it will tend to become more popular still.

{ Intelligent Life | Continue reading }

art { Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (crown of thorns), circa 1982 | Bill Connors }